6 reasons for studying a social sciences degree

International students in Sheffield city

Why do we study social sciences?

Social Sciences subjects are wonderfully varied, offering a wide range of career progression routes following graduation. The scope is broad, but these subjects are united by one thing – a focus on understanding the workings of human society.

Aren’t we all interested in how our societies work, and how we can help them work better? Here are some of the reasons why so many students from around the world are attracted to social sciences degrees in the UK.

Why study social sciences in the UK?

Flexible career options

Degrees in social work, politics, criminology, sociology, anthropology, statistics, finance, economics, law, psychology. The social sciences cover a lot of ground. The appeal is broad because the many subjects that come under the social sciences umbrella provide fascinating insights into everyday life in our communities, families and workplaces. All social sciences courses help students develop a wide range of transferable skills and open up many social sciences degree jobs.

The successful completion of a degree in any social sciences subject demonstrates research skills, analytical ability, a flexible and adaptable approach to learning, critical evaluation, the ability to work to deadlines, creativity, logical thinking, team-working, self-organisation and communication skills – all skills that will serve graduates no matter where they want to take their social sciences careers.


Human beings are fascinated by other human beings. What makes us tick? What makes a successful society? Why do so many of us watch Big Brother, read newspaper gossip columns, check Twitter feeds? Just one of the reasons why social sciences degrees are so popular is that we’re keen to study ourselves. As humans, we are, innately, problem solvers. Looking inward, be it at ourselves through psychology, or at our society as a whole, through sociology for example, we like to question, analyse, and look for answers. Social sciences subjects allow us to do just that.

Jobs that make a difference

Graduate with a social sciences degree in the UK and you’ll be equipped with the skills you need to help to shape the future. Social sciences subjects naturally lead to progression into the kinds of careers that make a very real difference to society. Environmental planning, health, education, politics, law, international relations – these are just a handful of the many social sciences areas that help you to improve the lives of children and adults in societies around the world. Whatever sphere of social sciences you specialise in, the world needs your expertise.

Better job prospects

In many areas of employment, in the public and private sectors, employers are keen to recruit social sciences graduates because they have the analytic and communication skills that a successful economy and society needs. A 2013 report carried out for the Campaign for Social Science found that:

  • At 3.5 years after graduating, the proportion of social sciences graduates in employment is higher than that of graduates of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) or arts-humanities.
  • More social sciences graduates are in managerial and senior official roles than graduates of STEM or arts-humanities subjects, at the same point in time.

The social sciences include Economics

Economics is one of the most popular degree subjects, and it falls under the category of social sciences. Economics degrees are popular because the skills and knowledge learned can be so widely applied in the real world. Government, aid agencies, banks, multinational corporations, engineering firms, retail, education, health – the sectors to which economic expertise can be applied is almost endless. It’s also a degree subject that can be easily combined with other subjects, making it a popular option for those looking to study for a combined social sciences degree in the UK.

Compatible Foundation Courses are available

Foundation courses are an increasingly popular way for international students to gain entry into British undergraduate degree programmes. Foundation courses ensure that students attain the right level of qualifications, knowledge, confidence and English language skills necessary to successfully study at British university level.

At places like the University of Sheffield International College, students can choose to specialise in the social sciences as part of their pre-degree study, with the International Foundation Year in Business, Law and Social Sciences course. It makes applying for a social sciences degree in the UK a whole lot easier for international students, and helps them make the transition from school to university smoothly, with all the support they need.


What can you do with a social sciences degree?

With a social sciences degree you can work in a career that betters the everyday life of society. With an understanding of social sciences you are able to understand how to analyse the behaviour and motivations of people. This helps us gain a better understanding of how to create a more inclusive and efficient economy and society. 

Career options with a social sciences degree include: 

  • psychologist 
  • local government
  • researcher
  • charity officer
  • human resource officer

Is a social sciences degree worth it?

Yes, social sciences degree jobs are plentiful with high earning salaries. Many sectors in the UK want to recruit social sciences graduates as they have the communication and analytical skills that a successful society and economy needs.

Is social sciences a good degree?

Career prospects as a social sciences graduate are high with many different areas and sectors to work in. The degree is a gateway to working in a specialised career that is of interest to you. 

The skills you learn from a social sciences degree are highly transferrable and are in high demand with employers. Using these skills you will be able to make a positive impact on the world.